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tv   CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and John Berman  CNN  February 15, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PST

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poppy harlow. >> i'm john berman. talk is swirling around washington about contact between russian officials and trump campaign officials during election season, and what congress will do about it. we might learn in a few minutes. a bipartisan group of lawmakers holds a news conference in a short bit. sources told cnn that senior trump officials including paul manafort and michael flynn were in constant contact with russian officials during the election. >> the key roles of those advisers, the number of their conversations with russian officials, and the timing, which was key because this all was happening as russia was targeting the clinton campaign.
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and donald trump publicly urged russia to find hillary clinton's missing e-mails. all of this was happening at the same time. this morning no direct response from the white house to cnn's reporting. the kremlin and president trump are dismissing these reports as "fake news." our barbara starr begins our coverage at the pentagon. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, john and poppy. no surprise, another tweet from president trump, a short time ago. he says, "this russian connection nonsense is merely an attempt to cover up the many mistakes made in hillary clinton's losing campaign." what that may have to do with what's at hand here is unclear to many. this press conference may give an indication of how much congressional democrats and republicans are going to pursue a congressional investigation into all of this. cnn reporting overnight in fact multiple officials, associated
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with multiple government agencies telling cnn that trump aides had repeated contacts with russian officials and russian persons over the summer. this was found out by u.s. intelligence through so-called routine targeting and monitoring of russian communications. but when all of this emerged, the intelligence community became so concerned, as you said, that they not only briefed then-president obama, but they did brief mr. trump about all these communications. what we don't know in the public is what these communications were really about. were there potential violations of law or regulation? because all of this was happening as the intelligence community was of course also coming to the conclusion that russian elements, supported by the government in moscow, were trying to interfere with the
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u.s. election. mr. manafort has said publicly he did not communicate knowingly with any elements of the russian government in an inappropriate manner. mr. flynn has not yet responded to any queries about all of this. but, you know, this story seems to grow by the day, far from over. and i think it really big question now is how far congress may pursue this. because that would bring it all into the public arena, john, poppy. >> barbara starr at the pentagon, what a great segue, we'll go to capitol hill to learn more about how far congress will go in pursuing this. we're expecting a news conference from a bipartisan group of congress members. the news conference is supposed to be about sanctions against rush, which is not completely unconnected to this subject. >> our congressional correspondent phil mattingly is watching live from capitol hill. what are we expecting? >> reporter: as john laid out, this press conference will be
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about sanctions. that's important, because it's just one piece of all of the fallout we're seeing on capitol hill. senate democrats are planning an emergency caucus meeting to figure out how they'll respond to the revelations of the last 48 hours. then another news conference of democrats calling for an independent nonpartisan commission to investigate all these issues. then you have the longer term bigger picture issues. that's what we're about to see right now from this bipartisan group of house members. today they'll introduce a bill that will basically require the trump administration to get congressional signoff before they can reduce or ease sanctions on rush that were put into place in the wake of incursion into crimea, gravest actions in the ukraine. this underscores there is bipartisan concern about the posture the president has taken on this issue pretty much throughout his entire campaign and up until now. why it's important is this. first and foremost, this is a campaign piece of legislation. there's also one in the senate
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that's got sponsors like john mccain, sherrod brown, marco rubio. this is something speaker paul ryan has made very clear, if the trump administration were to move in any way to reduce sanctions against russia, he would have a problem with it and be willing to take action. you're seeing, guys, as barbara was laying out, what is the congressional response here, what investigations will happen. it's not just on the micr micro level, the investigation into flynn calls or russian contacts. it's throughout the entire body, howed th this can have an impac going forward, whether it affects sanctions, or whether they'll consider a nonpartisan investigation, as of now it looks like the answer is no to that, and most importantly, whether this spurs the senate intelligence committee into a more aggressive tack and posture. all of this is swirling. when i talked to not just democratic aides but republican aides as well, they feel the
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pressure, they recognize it's not going away. that's why you're seeing the responses. the big question, exactly what barbara was alluding to, will that response be considered aggressive enough in a bipa bipartisan fashion. >> our thanks to phil mattingly there. we'll get a chance to take the temperature of at least some members of congress who are very, very canconcerned about t overall russian issue and the more finite issue of the trump campaign's contacts with russian officials. we're joined by rebecca berg and cnn analyst david gergen. david, you've worked in a lot of administrations and seen a lot of administrations deal with a lot of problems and crises. what's going on right now in the white house and how big a problem is this for the white house? >> it's become a huge problem for the white house, it's
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overshadowing everything they do and could in fact have long term impact about the viability and capacity of donald trump to govern. he's got strong interest in having this resolved quickly and openly. my experience, going back to watergate, and i don't think this is watergate but i do think some of the parallels are important, when a government, when an administration is in trouble like this, accusations are flying around, the best thing you can do is be as transparent as possible and push for investigations that i think the white house could help itself a lot right now if it called for an independent committee on capitol hill to investigation this, if it said that our attorney general, jeff sessions, is going to recuse himself from this, if it said we're going to send everybody up from the white house and anybody else you want to talk to, we're going to waive executive privilege, we want them to be as open as possible. that's what president reagan did after the iran-contra scandal
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and it really helped to lance the boil, because the administration said we're going to be totally open, and reagan went on to govern well. this doesn't need to be a catastrophe for donald trump if he responds well. >> david, you make an interest point and give the historical precedent for it. however, here is how the president is responding this morning on twitter. "this russian connection nonsense is merely an attempt to cover up the many mistakes made in hillary clinton's losing campaign." unless he changes gears, rebecca, he is focusing on leaks rather than on investigating these conversations with russia. >> right. it's kind of mixed messages, poppy, from the president, on the one hand attacking the intelligence community for these unauthorized what he says are illegal leaks, and at the same time saying none of it is true, that it's fake news. so we don't really what to believe from the president at this point. but it's certainly a defensive posture in contrast to what
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david is laying out which would be a much more proactive strategy by the president, to go to the hill and say, let us help however we can, we want to resolve this in a public fashion. although this is going to be sorted out by the senate intelligence committee, what we're hearing from many democrats on the hill right now is that those discussions and those investigations, because they're part of the intelligence committee, are largely likely to remain classified. so we won't get any sort of public airing of this investigation on michael flynn and more broadly on the administration's relations with russia. >> although, last hour on this show, we had a republican congressman and democratic congressman agreeing they want the transcripts for themselves and for the public. >> we're hearing lindsey graham wants a special select committee. there are different grades of interest. >> but not with republican leadership. as long as the approval rating among republicans for donald trump remains high, and it is now in the latest cnn polling,
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there's not going to be that pressure on republican leadership from their base to pursue these sorts of open investigations. >> it's an important point that paul ryan made this morning. >> and paul ryan is happy to keep it within the committees. a bigger picture, david gergen, we have heard concern from around this sort of governing community about what's going on right now. john mccain says there's enormous dysfunction. leon panetta says he's not whether or not this country can survive a crisis given the way things are right now. tony thomas, the commander of special operations, this is a nonpolitical general, made a pretty astounding statement, when he was asked about what's going on in washington right now. he said, our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. i hope they sort it out soon because we're a nation at war. as a commander i'm concerned our government be as stable as possible. i was surprised to see that from a general, albeit he was asked a question about it, david.
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i wonder your reaction, if you think it may be overblown. >> john, i was surprised as well. i did not think it was overblown. we saw in that flurry of papers in mar-a-lago as they were dealing with weekend with the north korean missile test, other countries are starting to test us now, the russians themselves have taken provocative actions in the last 48 hours, moving missiles past some of our ships, buzzing them. it's really important in that circumstance that you have a structure in place, a decisionmaking structure that is calm, deliberative, on national security. the president has two very strong secretaries there, that is reassuring, in his secretary of state and secretary of defense. but it now has a national security council team that's in some uproar.
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the one upside possibility of all this is getting michael flynn out of there gives him a chance to replace flynn with someone who is more respected, more of a heavyweight, but in the meantime they have to get their act together and stop blaming everybody else, sending out this mad series of of tweets, that's exactly what they don't want to do, in trying to calm the country. they should say we want to get to the bottom of this too so we can get this behind us and do important things like jobs. >> stand by, guys, we'll go to capitol hill, this news conference is under way. had a did steny hoyer just say? >> let's listen. >> this is not a partisan issue. which is why in the senate it is senator graham and senator rubio have joined with senator cardin
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and senator mccaskill in introducing legislation. that is why mr. bruni and others with whom i have talked but who are not co-sponsors at this point in time are carefully considering this action. it's not partisan. every american, every republican, every democrat, is concerned about russia and what they have been doing to violate international law, not to mention the criminal behavior they may be pursuing and are pursuing, i believe, in syria. it's a serious matter of national security which is why both democrats and republicans are putting this bill forward. i want to thank all of the co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle for their hard work on this important and timely legislation. at this point i want to yield to
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my friend and the gentleman from new york and the ranking member of the foreign affairs committee, elliott engel. elliott? >> thank you, steny. i'm pleased to be here with my colleagues, mr. hoyer, mr. schiff, to say that what russia has done and is doing is very alarming, and therefore they should not be allowed to weasel out of the sanctions. >> there you hear congressman eliot engel. we'll continue monitoring this news conference about russian sanctions and the constant contact between the trump campaign and russian officials. steny hoyer said meddling with american elections should not be being done by russians. that could have been said by
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democrats or republicans. >> that's right, the republican position for the most part was that barack obama and his administration were not tough on russia, not that they were being too tough on russia but not tough enough. and general the republican party has been much more hawkish on russia than a lot of democrats. so now it's this really interesting role reversal. certainly we're seeing from both parties some very tough talk on capitol hill. but again, what we really have to question and look at in terms of congress is what is republican leadership going to do about this? they can talk tough about russia but when it comes to applying pressure to the executive and to donald trump, that becomes a sticky political situation for them and it's not always easy. >> david, last question to you. sean spicer yesterday essentially denied that there were contacts between the trump campaign and aruba. mike pence, who he was vice-president-elect on january 15th, he said there were no
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contacts between the campaign and russia. does the white house need to change their story today? the president may be asked about this when he's with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. >> absolutely, at the very minimum they should change it to say we're not aware of contacts and we're going to dig into this and find out what we can. the honest truth is here, the way they handled the flynn situation has given us less reason to be persuaded that they're going to do the right thing on the bigger picture, because, you know, when they got the information from the justice department that mike flynn had had a conversation about sanctions and was vulnerable to blackmail, they left him in place, even though they knew he was vulnerable to blackmail, they left him in place and they didn't tell the vice president, who had been lied to. they kept him out of the loop for two weeks. clearly, john, what they were doing was trying to ride it out, make sure nothing came out. it was only because of the leaks that went to the newspapers that
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in fact this has all come to light. >> all right. david gergen, you've been in the white house. >> a few of them. >> thanks for being with us. rebecca berg, thank you, great discussion. ahead, the fallout from michael flynn's resignation only one of several controversies, as we've been discussing all morning, surrounding the trump administration, which is facing intense and increased scrutiny and criticism this morning over everything from ties to russia to how the president handles sensitive information. a member of the senate intelligence committee, angus king of maine, will join us next. every month? additional fees. tacked on taxes. come on! with t-mobile one, taxes and fees are now included! get 4 lines of unlimited lte data for 40 bucks each. that's right - all unlimited. all in! and now, for a limited time save more than you pay in taxes on all smartphones. so switch to t-mobile and save hundreds vs. the other guys. it's better than a tax holiday! and it's only at t-mobile.
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the news this morning, senior trump campaign advisers in constant communication with russia. this has sparked a strong response a short time ago from republican senator lindsey graham who raised the possibility of a select committee to investigate. >> contacts between the trump campaign and russian intelligence officials outside the norm, that's not only big league bad, that's a game changer and i would change my view as to what congress should do. if there are contacts between trump officials and russian
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operatives during the campaign, we need a joint committee in congress to get to the bottom of it and also look at trump's business ties to russia. >> joining us now, senator angus king, an independent from the great state of maine and a member of the senate intelligence committee. it's nice to have you on, sir, thank you for being with us. senator lindsey graham also said congress is not fake, and he said there are democrats and republicans who love our country and want to make sure checks and balances are in place. do you believe that republicans, your republican colleagues there, are serious about getting answers and serious about potentially having a select committee do this, that would have broader subpoena power and investigative power and be more available to the public in that way? >> you've asked a lot of questions, poppy. let me take them one at a time. i have detected and realized and heard over the last few days, i think the republicans are really taking this quite seriously. and i think they realize, as lindsey graham mentioned, i think he used the term "big league bad," and this is a
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serious question. as far as the committee, we already have a select committee. it's called the senate select committee on intelligence. i'm a member of that committee. we've begun an investigation into this. part of that investigation explicitly is going to include contacts between the campaign and the russians as well as what the russians did, why they did it, how they did it. and we have subpoena power. so that's in place. it's a bipartisan committee. we've been working together very well. and we're already beginning our work. we had about a two-hour meeting on this subject yesterday afternoon. so i think we're in a position to move forward on this. i'm not sure we need to appoint another committee, because the intelligence community is the job of the intelligence committee that's already on the case. >> senator, after that two-hour meeting you had yesterday, you came out and told your local paper, "the portland
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press-herald," that you also wanted to look into wider communications between trump campaign officials and the russians. that was before the cnn that came out that said there were constant frequent contacts between the trump campaign and russian officials. how significant do you believe that contact to be? i know you can't tell us what you hear in your classified briefings, but, you know, the frequency of these contacts, the senior people involved, the timing of it in the heart of campaign season, how important do you think that is? >> it's extremely important. and all of those are questions that i do not have the answer to now. but those are exactly the questions we're going to be asking. when we were beginning the discussions of doing this work back in january with the leadership of the committee, we expressly said, mark warner and i insisted that part of the charge to the committee was looking into whether or not there were contacts between either of the campaigns and the russians during the period leading up to the election.
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we didn't have any intelligence or data at that time that indicated that that was the case, although there were some signals, for example the relationship of mr. manafort, who was the campaign manager for a time, we know had relationships to the ukrainians and then suddenly at the republican convention, the provision about arm ting the ukrainians disappeared from the platform. that's public knowledge that raised the suggestion that there could have been some connection. it's part of our charge and absolutely something we have to look into. >> in our reporting, cnn did speak to paul manafort, the former campaign chairman of trump's campaign, and he wrote all of this off as being nonsense, saying he didn't have that communication and that his government in ukraine had nothing to do with this. what do you make of the president tweeting multiple times that this is really just a problem of leaking intelligence and that the russian reporting
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is nonsense? given the fact that the main story is these talks with russia, do you give some credence to his argument? >> absolutely. i think the leaks is a significant question. but it should not be used as a smokescreen to obscure the underlying grave issue of russian interference with our election process. and by the way, nobody knows where these leaks -- or somebody knows, but we don't know where the leaks are coming from. we know over the last month or so we've had information that's been in the intelligence community but it was relayed to the justice department and relayed to the trump white house. they had this information for 2 1/2 weeks. as you know, this white house hasn't exactly been hermetically sealed when it comes to leaks. i think the leaks are an important issue. but that's shooting the messenger. that's an issue that needs to be
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dealt with. the fbi should deal with it. it's against the law. but that shouldn't divert us from the fact that the information that's come forward, if it's credible, if it's based upon solid information, is very disturbing, and we've got to follow it up. i mean, the question is would michael flynn still be national security adviser but for the leaks, which led us, everyone, to realize he wasn't telling the truth when he said he didn't discuss sanctions with the russians. >> are you confident that the white house is leveling with us now about the nature of the contacts that the campaign had with the russians? >> no. no, i'm not. >> senator angus king of maine, thank you so much for being with us, i appreciate your time, sir. wow. >> yeah. >> when you have sitting senators who are concerned about the honesty of the white house, that something. >> we still have not gotten a
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good morning, everyone, i'm john berman. >> i'm poppy harlow. so glad you're with us. the head of special operations command delivering a stunning assessment of the political state of play. during a symposium in maryland
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yesterday raymond thomas said the u.s. government is in unbelievable turmoil. he went on to say, 12"i hope th sort it out soon because we're a nation at war. as a commander, i'm concerned our government be as stable as possible." >> senator john mccain, who has had a somewhat rocky history with donald trump, said this. >> i think there is significant dysfunction in the national security apparatus of the trump administration. when you see that you don't know who's in charge, this flynn situation, the whole environment is one of dysfunction in the trump administration. >> i want to bring in cnn's political director david chalian. tony thomas, john mccain, a lot of questions for the administration. when will we know and how will we know that this white house is in serious trouble? what signs are you looking for?
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>> well, define serious trouble. i would argue they are already in some sort of trouble because they haven't been able to drive through their agenda items, the things that they want to tick through and accomplish, because it's clearly consuming all the oxygen, the distractions are, for them. so there's that kind of trouble. but serious trouble? the one thing you'll look for is when the bottom starts falling out, if it starts falling out, among their core supporters. that's usually politically the place where presidents get hurt in a way that they have a very hard time returning. if republicans, core base trump supporters, all of a sudden start abandoning him, republicans on capitol hill are going to be running for the doors from the administration real quickly as well. and that complicates those agenda items that i was talking about that they want to get through. >> however, david, as rebecca berg mentioned on the problem earlier this hour, until those approval numbers among
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republicans for the president start going down, you won't see the pressure on paul ryan and other republican leadership to do that, to do things like call for a select committee to investigate flynn, or a completely independent group, not including sessions at all, to investigation this. there is not yet the political pressure, is there? >> i think that's probably true, there's not that political pressure from the base. there is some other political pressure. as john noted, yes, the history with john mccain and donald trump is indeed rocky. lindsey graham obviously no big donald trump fan either. but these are elder statesman of the president's party. remember, he was elected in part to break all this up, to disrupt this, to change the way things are done in washington. it's a balance, though, about disruption versus chaos. and if the white house is consumed every day by questions about their own truthfulness, about warring factions, about
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dysfunction, they just aren't able to get out from their own way here. and i will add this on the russia story that i think is significant. even if his base stays with him, there are probably enough members of his own party up on the hill who do really believe, like graham and mccain, and that may grow if revelations continue, who do really believe this has to be fully investigated. and if that's the case, it becomes the kind of daily story and drumbeat that the white house will have to put in an operation to handle just that story alone. that's not in place yet, as far as we can tell. >> i was going to ask you that. john mccain, by the way, also has an important job being a senator, he's the chairman of the armed services committee. he can hold hearings. when you have hearings, when you have investigations, you simply do not know what the outcome can be, as many presidents have learned over time. it's different when it's your own party, but still, it's a significant thing. as for how the white house has
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been handling this, sean spicer yesterday, i don't know if we have that sound, but sean spicer was asked by our old friend jonathan karl directly if there had been any contacts with the campaign between the trump campaign and the russians, and sean spicer sort of dodged it. let's play that right now. >> back in january, the president said that nobody in his campaign had been in touch with the russians. now, today, can you still say definitively that nobody on the trump campaign, not even general flynn, had any contact with the russians before the election? >> my understanding is that what general flynn has now expressed is that during the transition period -- we were very clear that during the transition period he did speak with the ambassador. >> i'm talking about during the campaign. >> there's nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period. >> david, that was eight hours before our big report came out. i mean, the white house is going to have problems if those are the answers that are given and the news keeps on contradicting it. >> exactly.
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now sean spicer will have to go out there at some point and correct the record, or at least say that they see the reports and they're looking into them. that's the other thing, is that as you know, in "the new york times" story and our reporting, there is no evidence provided of a correct correlation between those conversations, those communications, and the dnc hack or the effect that russia was looking to have on the u.s. election. that evidence doesn't exist. that to me begs the question, then, why won't the white house just come out and say, sort of put all the facts they know on the table, everything they've looked into? to me that's the challenge on sean spicer, especially with those words out there. >> indeed. let's hope, david chalian, for everyone's sake, that the president is asked about this when he takes a few questions in that joint press conference with netanyahu today. >> what's your favorite color, not questions like that. i think there are some serious questions here. david, great to see you.
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coming up, our manu raju, as he does every morning for us, running around capitol hill, chasing down lawmakers to answer your questions. he just spoke with senator john mccain, getting reaction to cnn's reporting that the trump campaign had these regular constant communications with russian officials before the election. he'll bring us that, next. >> he may get another senator by the time the commercial is over. >> you never know.
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moments ago on capitol hill, cnn caught up with arizona senator john mccain to get his reaction to the cnn reporting that during the campaign, the trump administration was in constant communication with russian officials. our manu raju joins us now from the hill with more. look, this is the buzz of capitol hill this morning. what are you hearing?
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>> reporter: sorry, lost you there, poppy. >> manu, i was just asking you, what are you hearing? we're turning around the sound you had with john mccain, we'll play that for viewers in just a moment. what's the overall reaction on capitol hill to this story? >> reporter: there's a lot of concern, not just from democrats who you would expect to be concerned and very critical about how the trump campaign appeared to have had contacts with russian officials during the campaign, but also from republicans as well. we had a chance to talk to a number of them, not just senator mccain but also senator marco rubio, senator cory gardner, two republicans who sit on the foreign relations committee which is meeting right now in the room right next to me, saying that there is a desire or need to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. marco rubio of course is actually having dinner with donald trump tonight, but he says that everything that they are learning right now is something that the intelligence
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committee that he sits on needs to explore in detail. now, i asked rubio too, are you concerned that donald trump can get this right, can he get past all this turmoil that is happening in his white house right now? and he did not say if he thought that could happen. in fact he said he thinks that perhaps this is more turbulent than any other new administration that we have been accustomed to. senator mccain as well also raising a number of concerns. he actually has supported calls for a bipartisan inquiry into russia meddling in the past, that is something that a standalone panel that john mccain supports, that's something that the senate republican leaders and the house republican leaders are resisting right now. they did not want to have a separate committee, instead they want this done in the standing committees of congress including the house and senate intelligence committee. but mccain himself wants to have something separate, something
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that could have more prominence, something that could be independent of what is happening here on capitol hill. and we just got this sound from john mccain, where he talks about this in depth. take a listen to what he had to say. do you think that any laws were broken? >> i don't know. we only have the initial media reports of a very serious problem. we know that the russians attempted to affect the outcome of our election. we know that, although we don't think they succeeded, but the information in the media requires questions to be answered. >> reporter: do you think there's evidence of coronatiordn between the trump campaign -- >> too early. it's too early. but it raises serious questions. my concern is also that with now no national security adviser, and the turmoil within the
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administration, it makes it very difficult for them to exercise their responsibilities to defend the nation. there's turmoil as far as national security is concerned. >> reporter: now, one other piece of news, john mccain tells me he's leaning against mick mulvaney to be budget director. if two more republicans vote against him, that could be enough to scuttle his nomination. that vote expected on thursday if they break a filibuster as soon as tonight. >> john mccain may not get that white house social invite anytime soon. >> but marco rubio having dinner tonight. >> that was interesting, i didn't know that. manu raju, thank you very much. all this as the white house awaits the israeli prime minister. we'll be right back. with safelite's exclusive "on my way text"... you'll know exactly when we'll be there. giving you more time for what matters most. (team sing) safelite repair, safelite replace.
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all right. in just a short bit, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu will arrive at the white house. then they'll hold a joint news
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conference. >> before their meeting in private. it will be a major moment for a lot of reasons. both the white house and israel have facing turmoil. our elise labott joins us live in washington. a number of issues on the agenda, primarily iran. >> reporter: that's right, poppy and john. iran is the prime minister's number one priority, beating back not just on the nuclear issue but countering iran's other behavior in the region and trying to contain the fallout from the conflict in syria where hezbollah and iran are using that territory possibly against israel. he also wants president trump's help in normalizing relations with his arab neighbors, that's one of his top priorities. look, he also does not really want to talk about the two-state solution. president trump has talked about what he calls "the ultimate
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deal" and plans to put his son-in-law, jared kushner, in charge of that. the administration has been sending mixed messages about what this means. this meeting is supposed to be like a love fest, after eight years of what was really an acrimonious relationship between netanyahu and president obama, i think as they start to talk about issues of the peace process and what trump might want to do and what he might need from netanyahu in return, that relationship could grow tense pretty fast. >> elise labott for us. we'll await that press conference. thanks so much for that. we'll be right back. ♪ how do you become america's best-selling brand? you make it detect what they don't. stop, stop, stop! sorry. you make it sense what's coming. watch, watch, watch! mom. relax! i'm relaxed. you make it for 16-year olds... whoa-whoa-whoa!!! and the parents who worry about them. you saw him, right? going further to help make drivers, better drivers. don't freak out on me. that's ford.
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live pictures from the white house. >> we're going to around the room. we'll introduce ourselves. some of you i've read about on the covers of business magazines. it's great to have you here. thank you very much. i'm pleased to host all of you at the white house, the ceos, some of the great ceos of our country and the biggest of the retail industry, which is very important to the country in supporting millions and millions of jobs. really one of the great job producers. probably would you say almost number one? pretty close, right? it is number one. there's a lot of confidence in our economy right now. there's a great confidence level. you've been seeing that in the stock market. you've been seeing that in businesses. and you've been seeing that on
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every chart. there's evidence also by the jobs report that came out for january, 227,000 jobs added. my administration remains very focused on the issues that will encourage economic growth. that's what we're all about. we have a lot of plans moving back into various states, including the state of ohio, the state of michigan, pennsylvania. we have a lot of companies moving back in, coming back into the country, bringing the jobs with them. we're cutting regulations big league. we are really cutting them by massive amounts. the auto industry just left a week ago, they were here in the same room. and they are very happy with what we're doing. everyone is. i think just about everyone. we had the financial industry, just about all the industries in. we're cutting regulations in just about every industry. in fact i can't think of any that we're not. if i do, we have a major story,
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okay? because i think just every industry we're cutting, some more than others. you have a very, very big regulatory problem and we're going to take care of that, because i want more jobs. we're doing that because we want more jobs. as you know, the overregulation costs our economy an estimated $2 trillion a year, which is incredible. $2 trillion. and it costs your businesses a lot of money, tremendous amounts of money and time. i've taken executive action to create a permanent structure of regulatory reduction by creating one and one. so basically for every one regulation, two are out. so we knock out two. so we put in one, but to put in one you have to knock out two. that's the least of it but it's an important symbol. in addition to reducing government regulations, we'll also reform our tax code to help middle income families and american businesses grow and thrive. tax reform is one of the best opportunities to really impact
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our economy. so we're doing a massive tax plan. it's coming along really well. it will be submitted in the not too distant future. and it will be not only good and simpler, it will be -- you're talking about big numbers of savings. also middle income and very much for business. and the business is for middle income because you're going to employ a lot of people. we hope you're going to do that. we're going to provide tax relief for families. we're going to simplify very greatly the tax code. it's too complicated. we're going to bring down the number of alternatives. it will be just a much, much simpler tax code. in fact h&r block will probably not be happy, that's one business that won't be too happy with what we're doing. other than h&h block, i think people will love it. we're going to lower the rates very, very substantially for
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virtually everybody, in every category, including, including personal and business. and i just want to go around the room. i would like you to introduce yourselves. and then i'll tell you a little bit more and you're going to tell me what you're looking for. but we want jobs. we want jobs brought back to the country. we want them brought back fast. we want you to expand your stores. and you'll tell me why you will or why you won't, and tell me why you won't, we'll tell you a little bit, right? vice president mike pence. so go ahead. >> i'm jill salto with joanne's fabric and craft stores. >> art peck with the gap. >> with best buy. >> i'm bill rhodes of auto zone. >> brian cornell with target. >> tar-jay, right? thank you. >> greg sanford with tractor supply. >> with jcpenney.
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>> there you have it, the president meeting with major retail ceos, talking about border taxes and job creation, saying if you don't create some jobs, you'll hear from us. thanks for joining us today. i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm john berman. "at this hour with kate bolduan" starts right now. hello, everyone, i'm kate boldu bolduan. i want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. a lot going on today. a short time from now, president trump and his israeli counterpart benjamin netanyahu will hold a join news conference, all this comes amid a bombshell report involving the white house and the russians. senior trump campaign aides were in constant contact with senior russian officials during the presidential campaign, just 24 hours after trump asked his


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